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Industrial Museum Collaboration

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The Industrial Museum Collaboration seeks to address the crisis of civic imagination driven by two dramatic transformations in our contemporary urban landscapes — the deindustrialisation of manufacturing and production, and the dematerialisation of culture and information. These parallel transformations have replaced large-scale factories and organised urban working classes with dispersed networks of subcontracted and informal production in slums and hinterlands on the one hand; and on the other hand, they have replaced the space of the traditional museum, library and archive with virtual networks of communications, entertainment and commerce.

While these historic industrial and technological changes are common to cities across the world, in Mumbai their articulation in the public sphere remains deeply contested and polarised. In the twenty years since the Bombay Textile Strike inaugurated a post-industrial era of social and spatial restructuring — in which nearly a million factory workers lost their jobs in various industries — political and cultural responses to urban change are divided. They range from the celebratory rhetoric of the utopia of finance and services, styled on Singapore or Hong Kong, to the passionate protests of activists and community groups against the destruction of livelihoods and homes, in factory closures and slum demolitions. The new politics of space and work in post-industrial Mumbai has yet to be comprehensively documented, much less re-imagined, and the importance of a collaborative urbanism to this task is obvious.

In the Industrial Museum Collaboration, we propose a project to develop an Archive and Network, and organise an Exhibition, which can bring together various individual practitioners and groups into dialogue and action on these questions, in relation to the textile mill districts of the inner-city, also known as the Mumbai Mill Lands or Girangaon.


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